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The purpose and goal of brain mapping is to advance the understanding of the relationship between structure and function in the human brain. Scientists in this field seek to gain knowledge of the physical processes that underlie human sensation, attention awareness and cognition. These results are immediately applicable to surgical intervention, to the design of medical interventions and to the treatment of psychological and psychiatric disorders.
As an undergraduate at UC Davis, Patrick Yau had the opportunity to work at the Visualization and Graphics Research Group in the Institute for Data Analysis and Visualization (IDAV). He was under the guidance of Professor Bernd Hamann and Dr. Lars Linsen when he and his colleagues developed the project "Brain Mapping via Hierarchical Isosurface Segmentation Based on Discrete Curvature".The idea of the project is to look into the surface of two brains and identify the similarities between then. They focused in particular on the curvature of the brains (folds and bumps). Yau worked on data preprocessing and the automated brain mapping algorithm. He wrote a procedure that automatically identifies the front, side and the top for two brains using Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and he also wrote a procedure that constructs a topology graph based on the curvature of a brain. The two images shown here reveal different representations of the same brain: as points and as a topology graph.